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The Word Is Yes: #128 - The Solution

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    The Word Is Yes: #128 - The Solution


    Fair warning: since this site is fairly new, another section of the forum may open up which might be a better fit for my review posts. If that happens, I'll post them there - until then, I'll put them here.

    Something I've noticed about Open Your Eyes is that it peaks at the beginning, but takes a nosedive right after the second track. It sort of stays mediocre through the whole album, with a few blips of good music here and there, before finally recovering with the last two songs. Those four songs I've just mentioned are by far my favorites out of the eleven tracks on the album, but it's a shame that the album is paced like it is - especially since there are some very good songs on its sister album Conspiracy that shed a peek into what OYE could have been.


    Out of the four tracks that I’ve mentioned, the one that seems to arouse the most conversations in my Yes friend groups is the album’s rather odd closer, The Solution. Now, I’m not trying to imply that the song is bad or anything, because it isn’t. It quite a good song - especially in comparison to a lot of the others on Open Your Eyes, The Solution is a bit of a standout. But in terms of Yes closers… that’s a bit of a hard one.


    At the very least, the opening to the song certainly fits the bill of “epic closer” - it sounds absolutely grand, like the gates to a giant temple opening up. It’s all bombastic, but in a much different way than other Yes closers are bombastic.
    But this eventually gives way to a softer verse, sung solemnly by Jon. Unlike the previously mentioned Universal Garden, which used different dynamics in a less-than-cohesive way, this song does it very effectively. The two sections of the song contrast each other pretty well - what with Billy’s echoing piano and Jon’s softer voice during the verse, and the other singers backing him during the chorus with Steve’s guitar right behind. This more powerful feeling carries over into the next verse, which I have to say is a nice touch.


    Let’s talk about that guitar, by the way. Open Your Eyes was the first Yes album to have two guitarists: the returning Steve Howe doing leads, and the semi-newcomer Billy Sherwood on rhythm, who also does keyboard duties. The reason for this is pretty clear for those familiar with the album - it started as a collaboration between Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood, which evolved into a Yes album due to pressure from their label. This led to the album being a bit rushed, and thus Steve wasn’t able to do as much as he may have wanted. Now, this does show a bit in the album - Steve’s solos are a bit less polished than they would be elsewhere. And you could say Steve was a little less than pleased by the second guitarist.


    Steve:

    Open Your Eyes was a most disagreeable time when stupidly - and I’ll say it again: stupidly - Chris involved Billy to such an extent in his music that Billy had to join the band to sort of exercise this operation. And I’ve not met anybody who liked that time at all, really.

    Now, one might see this and go, “Gee, that’s petty as hell.” And you would be correct! But that’s just how Steve rolls, baby - and he really does roll on this song. He gets not just one, but two whole guitar solos to himself, perhaps as a consolation for him whining - er, bringing up how late he came in.


    Billy:

    Steve came in very late on Open Your Eyes. Even though he was invited in early, he decided, “No, I’m gonna stay here in England for a while.” And things were moving quickly, so when he came in at the end, a lot had been done, which I think is the major contributing factor to why he wasn’t too happy.

    But whatever his (new) state of mind was at the time of this recording, his playing is as solid as ever. Well, ever at the time. There’s a whole minute-long instrumental section of the song which contains a solo over the lyricless chorus, which I find to be a good spin on it. The synth covering the “round and round we go” is a nice touch too, and as the reprised intro falls back into the once again solemn verse, it creates an amazing effect - just what I’d expect from Yes!


    Honestly, when I first heard this song, I thought it was a strange choice for a closer, as I figured the previous song Somehow, Someday would have been a better fit. And while that song could still certainly work very well as a closer, I think this song has clicked with me since I first heard it. I get the grandiose dynamic they were going for - what with the choir effects, the larger-than-life organ, and the rocking guitar backed by the entire band going at full force. It all fits with the theme of the lyrics, that being that you spend all this time looking for the solution to life, when it’s been inside of you all along! Only shocking lessons from Yes, as usual.


    I suppose the reason I figured Somehow Someday would make a better closer was the ending of The Solution. While not bad, of course - it has a pretty cool guitar solo - it creates a strange effect where I’d almost consider it somewhat of an anticlimax. The transition into it from the chorus, the fact that it’s just repeating an earlier part of the song in essence, and the gentle chord it ends on. A bit of a strange choice for the finale of the album.


    Still, despite the fact that I didn’t get it for a while, I think I’ve finally found the answer to… well, The Solution. That being that it’s a very good song that, while being a bit of a different approach from its Yes closer brethren, uses its own identity very effectively. In any case, it’s one of the highlights of Open Your Eyes - and in fact, Steve seems to agree with me on this. Perhaps he found a solution of his own!


    Steve:

    From "Wonderlove" on, I'm a happy guy; I'm sold. There's more familiarity, more of a balance of what the group really did sound like when we were carving this record. The earlier tracks have more of other peoples' view, which isn't as easy to live with, but you win some and you lose some.

    Yessources:

    1. Time And A Word: The Yes Story, Martin Popoff

    2. Guitar Mag, Yes Returns! The Twin Titans Of Yes: Steve Howe & Chris Squire Get Ready For The New Millenium


    Hoo boy, there’s a lot to catch up on. First of all, merry Christmas and a happy new year! I hoped to squeak out one more review before the end of the year - and luckily, it’s still New Year’s Eve where I live as I write this. So it looks like I succeeded! Yes, this series hasn’t exactly gone to plan, and I’ve largely started working on other projects - if I had kept on track, I would have finished in October - but I still enjoy doing these reviews from time to time. It reminds me of what I love about one of my favorite bands of all time, and even if I can’t commit to doing one a day like I promised, I still plan on getting through every song.
    Next, this review will actually be the first one not to be published on the original Yesfans. I’d been posting my reviews there along with on Reddit, but as of December 1st it is now defunct. Luckily, a new site has been created in its place: thenewyesfans.com. It’s quite a lovely little site so far, and I hope to have as much fun on this one as its original! Still sad to see the original one go after 20 long years, even if I only joined in during its last year. I’m reminded of a quote from a Yes song I’ve been writing about: “Don’t forget to leave good foot prints behind.” And from the looks of it, Yesfans and its creator left some pretty good foot prints behind.
    Anyways, thank you for joining in to my series so far. It means the world to me that you all go out of your way to read my writing; even if not all of you agree, I still appreciate it. Here’s to an even better 2021!





















































    Ha! Did you really think that was the end? No, if you know anything about The Solution, you’ll know that the story doesn’t just end with the end of the song - as a matter of fact, I think I’ve seen just as much if not more discussion about the secret bonus track tacked on to the end of the song: The Source.


    Ironically, I’ve never actually seen a source for the name The Source. Perhaps it comes from the band, or perhaps the fans came up with it because it sounded poetic. Either way, it does sound poetic enough that that’s what I’ll refer to it as. And it’s a good thing too, because The Source is… a bit of an enigma in the Yes catalogue. As a matter of fact, it’s not separated from The Solution in any format - and it’s incredibly long. Because of its insane length - 16:21 just on its own - it makes the entirety of The Solution over 23 minutes long, making it the longest single Yes track in their entire catalogue. And because that time stamp is visible to anyone who listens to this album on streaming, it immediately grasps their attention. A Yes epic? On this album?


    This, of course, is why The Source is so widely discussed, because anyone going into it expecting a hidden Yes epic is going to be sorely disappointed. It is not, in fact, an epic, but instead around 16 minutes of nature sounds. Birds chirping, rivers flowing - it almost reminds you of Close To The Edge in a way. But, in the words of my good friend Vanman, you are gravely mistaken as the eardrum-destroying bellow of **WAITING FOR THE MOMENT WHEN THE MOMENT HAS BEEN WAITING ALL THE TIME** rings out into the stratosphere and kills you instantly.


    Apparently, just having 15 minutes of birds chirping wasn’t good enough for Yes, as they for some reason added audio jumpscares into the mix in the form of sprinkling in voice lines from the other songs on the album. It is incredibly startling the first time you hear it, but after a while it just becomes strange. One starts to wonder… why was this necessary? I mean, it was supposedly used to open their live shows, but other than that it’s a rather pointless addition.


    Still, pointless as it may be, it’s rather harmless. I’ve seen people use this to call The Solution one of the worst Yes songs, or call The Source itself the worst Yes song. I can certainly see the latter being true, but honestly? I find it hard to hate this track. It’s just a fun easter egg that works better in its original CD format than it does in our modern era of streaming. I certainly can’t fault The Solution for it being there - in fact, I got the CD of Open Your Eyes just to edit The Source into a separate track. In fact, ‘track’ is a good way to describe this song, because it’s not really a song. It’s an… experience. And I can’t hate a song that doesn’t exist.


    Seriously, though, that New State Of Mind jumpscare is freaky.

    #2
    I've always liked 'The Solution' and think it's one of the best tracks on an otherwise universally panned Yes album. To me it's very much comparable to Tempus Fugit in that it's a driving 5-minute album closer that rocks a bit and with similar guitar textures. That's the only other Yes track I can compare it to. Some may call it one of the worst Yes songs because of the long ambient section that follows it, but that part I always thought of as a different track and not part of The Solution.

    Back in the 90's people would put bonus unlisted stuff at the end of a 79:59 running time CD or include something in the running time of the last listed track on the album, so that when the song ends and the disc still keeps going through seconds or minutes of silence, suddenly there's some extra stuff there to freak you out. I guess that was a 90's thing. I had no idea that ambient section after 5+ minutes of The Solution was called 'The Source', but I rather like it - jumpscares and all. I compare it to the unlisted ambient track that ends Queen's Made In Heaven. I think Pink Floyd had an ambient track too on the cassette version of Division Bell? Very 90's. If they ever do a remaster/deluxe rerelease of OYE, they should put the two as separate tracks.
    The sonic clarity of the entire OYE album is top-notch even if some fans consider the album weak. Some of the best production, especially The Source. But yeah, the jumpscares - especially when you don't know where/when they will pop in after being lulled into a state of tranquility by birdcalls and wooshing water.

    I know Jon Anderson has a rarer solo album called From Me To You which is like a whole album of The Source - all bird sounds and ambience with Jon's angelic vocals and chants popping up here and there but without the jumpscare effect. Has anyone else have that one?

    Comment


      #3
      I'm in the minority of liking even loving as much as half of the OYE album. And I like "The Source" too. One of the few very radical things they did so late in their career...I remember I was able to source all the harmony excerpts except for one...

      Comment


        #4
        I agree with most of the review. It’s a very fine song in my book. One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is the keyboards. I feel they deliberately went for a Rick church organ sound. Which I like. A dash of the old Parallels...
        The bonus track... well... I found a solution (pun intended) that works for me. I’ve taken all the vocal excerpts and stuck them in front of the songs they belong to.
        (the ones I like)

        Comment


          #5
          #78 reaction to SKD #78 opinion :


          plodding, cold, crunchy, AOR on steroids, apart from first 3 songs, a disappointing album.

          1 star.

          Comment


            #6
            Open Your Eyes is a great Yes album, especially in relation to Big Generator, Union, 90125 and Tormato. It isn't, of course, anywhere near Relayer, Topographic Oceans, Drama or Close to the Edge - but then nothing has come close.

            Comment


              #7
              The Solution is a pretty cool track on a pretty decent album overall.
              The Definitive YES Albums

              -The Yes Album-Fragile-Close to the Edge-Tales From Topographic Oceans-
              -Relayer-Going for the One-Drama-90125-Big Generator-Union-Talk-
              -The Ladder-Magnification-Fly From Here-The Quest-

              Comment

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